In preparation for the Year of Consecrated Life, which begins this Advent, we have been reading Pope Pius XII’s apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi. The section below stood out as especially suitable to our vocation as cloistered contemplatives at the heart of the Dominican Order: how universal our apostolate, and how simple the means by which we exercise it!
Let all Nuns therefore be thoroughly convinced that theirs is a fully and totally apostolic vocation, hemmed in by no limitations of space, matter or time, but always and everywhere extending to whatever in any way concerns the honor of the heavenly spouse of the salvation of souls. And this universal apostolic vocation of Nuns makes it perfectly appropriate that Monasteries should consider as recommended to their prayers the needs of the Church as a whole and of all individuals and groups.
The apostolate which is common to all Nuns and by which they should work zealously for the honor of the divine Spouse and promote the good of the universal Church and of all the faithful, disposes principally of the following means:
- The example of Christian perfection; for their life, though without words, yet speaks strongly, ever drawing the faithful to Christ and to Christian perfection, and like a standard rallies the good soldiers of Christ for battle and invites them to the crown of glory.
- Prayer, both that which is offered publicly in the name of the Church by the solemn recital to God of the canonical hours seven times each day, and that which is offered privately to God, continuously and in every form.
- The generous offering of themselves, so that the hardships which come from the common life and from faithful regular observance, may be supplemented by other exercises of self-denial either prescribed by the Rules and Constitutions of undertaken entirely of their own accord, so as generously to “fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the Church” (Colossians 1:24).